US 20080220941 A1
A system, apparatus and method for managing health of different individuals by means of a virtual trainer over a network. Reference training data is made available to at least one individual. The exercise motion of the individual or end-user is recorded by using a plurality of sensing elements. The exercise motion of the end-user is processed into a user data. The user data is forwarded to a remote server via a user communication device. A virtual coach application is provided in the remote server that compares the reference training data with the user data and provides a corrective feedback to the end-user. The corrective feedback to the end-user may be provided on the user communication device such as a personal computer, digital assistant, or mobile phone.
1. A virtual trainer system comprising:
a remote server;
reference training data stored on said remote server;
at least one sensing element adapted to sense exercise motion of a user;
a processor adapted to create user data based on the sensed exercise motion of said user;
a user communication device adapted to receive said user data and transmit said user data to said remote server; and
a virtual coach application component operatively connected to said remote server and adapted to compare said reference training data with said user data and provide corrective feedback to said user.
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15. A method for providing virtual coaching, said method comprising:
providing reference training data in a remote server;
sensing exercise motion of a user by using a plurality of sensing elements;
creating user data in a user communication device based on the sensed exercise motion of said user;
transmitting said user data from said user communication device to said remote server;
comparing said reference training data with said user data using a virtual coach application component operatively connected to said remote server;
providing corrective feedback to said user based on the comparisons of said reference training data with said user data.
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1. Technical Field
The embodiments herein generally relate to health management of individuals and, more particularly to, a health management system that provides an interface between a plurality of expert trainers and a market place of individuals.
2. Description of Related Art
The importance of health management in today's society is well understood. One of the important ways of achieving good health is physical exercise. A number of studies in recent years have revealed the benefits of regular physical exercise. However, if the physical exercise regimen is not correctly followed, then the beneficial effects of physical exercise may be negated.
Therefore, expert trainers are preferred to guide an individual for performing various health exercises and to teach about the correct forms and techniques of physical exercises. The presence of a trainer helps an individual to perform the correct exercising activities and improve the performance of a physical act. The trainer detects and corrects the faults occurring in the physical exercise performance of the individual and instructs the correct manner of performing the exercise. The trainee is therefore considerably dependent upon the skill and experience of the trainer or coach. Moreover, when any exercise movement is fast and complex it may be difficult for the coach to accurately analyze the exercise movement.
Presently, several types of exercising equipment are available that are capable of monitoring and measuring various exercising movements of a person. Further, some types of equipment are capable of monitoring various parameters of the human body such as temperature, pulse, heart rate, blood pressure, movement and the like in order to help the trainer guide the trainee more efficiently. However, this equipment are typically available in a gymnasium and the physical presence of a trainer is still required. Further, in order to obtain the benefits of monitoring of the exercise, the trainee generally has to visit the gymnasium at frequent intervals. This can be inconvenient, particularly when the gymnasium is not located near the user. Further, one gym instructor may attend to the needs of many gym users and hence, each user may not really have the benefit of personal coaching.
Some of the conventional solutions for the above-mentioned problems involve providing various training programs at the user end, so that the user may learn the exercising techniques from these programs. However, success of a training program depends, in part, on the user's technique. The user might not practice the correct motions, and the timings of his/her motion might not be correct. Also, the number of repetitions of a motion might also not be optimal.
Also known in the art are systems and methods for autonomous training, interactive exercise monitoring systems wherein a trainee is trained via a scripted form of training exercise. Input parameters are gathered during a training exercise being performed by the trainee through various types of sensing devices such as sensors placed in running shoes to measure the distance and number of calories burned, heart rate sensors in treadmills and stair steppers, and armband sensors to measure the number of steps taken. However, a feedback on the correct exercise form and a technique of performing exercise is generally not provided by these systems. Further, these systems typically do not set goals for the user to achieve and do not provide any information on how to set a goal and achieve it. These systems also tend to lack in providing a provision to guide the user on the optimal time to switch on to the next exercise, or on how much appropriate weight is to be lifted during a particular exercise in real time. Hence, the user may find difficulty in maintaining proper form and technique. Accordingly, there is a need for a new and improved system, which eliminates the drawbacks of conventional solutions.
The embodiments herein provide a system, apparatus, and method for managing the health of different individuals by means of a virtual trainer. In one embodiment, a remote server having stored in it a reference training data and a virtual coach application is provided. A plurality of sensing elements for sensing exercise motion of an end-user is also provided. The exercise motion of the end-user is processed to create user data. The user data is forwarded to the remote server via a user communication device. The virtual coach application then compares the reference training data with the user data and provides corrective feedback to the end-user. The corrective feedback to the end-user may be provided on the user communication device such as a personal computer, digital assistant, or mobile phone.
The reference-training data may be based on standard training programs including strength training programs, rehabilitation/physical therapy programs, sports conditioning programs, lose weight programs, gain weight programs, and health-maintenance programs that are recorded in the remote server by an expert trainer. The reference training data may further include the common technique mistakes of the end-user. This data is available to the end-user in multimedia form or text form. An end-user's health management report may also be created that can be accessed by the expert trainer.
The sensing element may be any of a wearable sensing element worn by the end-user, an equipment-sensing element provided on exercising equipment, and a built-in sensing element that is built into the exercising equipment. The exercise motion of the end-user may be based on various parameters including mileage, calories burned, pulse-count, temperature, moisture, tension, time, movement, blood pressure, and repetitions of a movement. The user communication device may be configured to receive the user data by using Bluetooth and/or radio frequency identification (RFID) technology.
Another embodiment provides a method for providing a virtual training system. The method comprises providing reference training data in a remote server; sensing exercise motion of an end-user by using a plurality of sensing elements; creating user data based on the exercise motion of the end-user; transmitting the user data via a user communication device to the remote server; comparing the reference training data with the user data by providing a virtual coach application present in the remote server; and providing a corrective feedback to the end-user.
Another embodiment provides a sensor data management apparatus. The apparatus comprises an accelerometer for detecting the exercise motion of an end-user; a microprocessor configured to create user data based on the exercise motion of the end-user; a transmitter configured to transmit the user data to a user communication device. The apparatus further comprises a rechargeable power storage device; a power source; a real-time clock; and memory devices for storing data being processed by the microprocessor.
These and other aspects of the embodiments herein will be better appreciated and understood when considered in conjunction with the following description and the accompanying drawings. It should be understood, however, that the following descriptions, while indicating preferred embodiments and numerous specific details thereof, are given by way of illustration and not of limitation. Many changes and modifications may be made within the scope of the embodiments herein without departing from the spirit thereof, and the embodiments herein include all such modifications.
The embodiments herein will be better understood from the following detailed description with reference to the drawings, in which:
The embodiments herein and the various features and advantageous details thereof are explained more fully with reference to the non-limiting embodiments that are illustrated in the accompanying drawings and detailed in the following description. Descriptions of well-known components and processing techniques are omitted so as to not unnecessarily obscure the embodiments herein. The examples used herein are intended merely to facilitate an understanding of ways in which the embodiments herein may be practiced and to further enable those of skill in the art to practice the embodiments herein. Accordingly, the examples should not be construed as limiting the scope of the embodiments herein.
As mentioned, there remains a need for a new and improved health management system. The embodiments herein achieve this by providing a system, apparatus, and method for managing health of different individuals by means of a virtual trainer over a network. In one embodiment, reference training data is made available to at least one individual. The exercise motion of the individual or end-user is recorded by using a plurality of sensing elements. The exercise motion of the end-user is processed into user data. The user data is forwarded to a remote server via a user communication device. A virtual coach application is provided in the remote server that compares the reference training data with the user data and provides a corrective feedback to the end-user. The corrective feedback to the end-user may be provided on the user communication device such as a personal computer, digital assistant, or mobile phone. Referring now to the drawings, and more particularly to
One or more user communication devices 102 may be communicatively coupled to the sensor data management module 101 for receiving the user data created by the microprocessor and transmitting the same to a remote server 103 over a network. The remote server 103 is preferably a World Wide Web server and the network is preferably the Internet. It will be apparent to one skilled in the art that the server 103 may comprise a single stand-alone computer or multiple computers distributed throughout a network. The user communication device 102 is preferably a personal computer, remote terminal, a personal digital assistant, a mobile telephone, or web television (TV) unit connected to the server 103 via the Internet. The user communication device 102 functions as a remote interface for entering in the server 103 messages and health-related data to be communicated to the end-users.
The sensor data management module or apparatus 101 is designed to interact with a user in accordance with script programs received from the remote server 103 over the network. Each apparatus 101 is in communication with the server 103 through the communication network. Alternatively, each apparatus 101 may be placed in communication with the server 103 via wireless communication networks, cellular networks, telephone networks, satellite networks, or any other network which allows each apparatus 101 to exchange data with the server 103. It is to be understood that the system 100 may include any number of sensor data management module or apparatuses 101 for monitoring any number of individuals.
The remote server 103 may provide a web-based application, which can be accessible to an end-user through his/her user communication device 102. The end-user generally accesses the virtual coach application 103.1 stored in the remote server 103. The remote server 103 has reference training data 103.3. The reference training data 103.3 may be obtained from health management service providers 104 and training program content providers 105. The reference training data 103.3 may contain digital audio recordings and digital video recordings of exercise-training programs and techniques of expert trainers based on standard or customized training program goals. The reference training data 103.3 may also include common technique mistakes of the end-users in multimedia form or text form. The expert trainer may record, update or modify their program content via trainer interface 106. Generally, the expert trainers may utilize the virtual trainer application program 103.1 to record techniques and proper form when using exercise equipment. An end-user of the virtual trainer system 100 may record their form and technique based on training program goals.
As explained above, the user data is generally the measured and monitored exercise motion of an end-user seeking the training. This data is compared with the reference-training program of the expert trainer and a corrective feedback is provided to the end-user on his/her communication device 102. The remote server 103 further stores the user data of multiple users as user collected data 103.4. A report generator 103.2 is also provided in the remote server 103 for creating health management reports for trainers, physical therapists, and healthcare providers, detailing progress and goal attainment. The report generator 103.2 is designed to generate a health report from the responses and the measurements of exercise equipment received in the server 103. The health report is displayed on the user communication device 102. The health report may include a graph of the measured exercise movements performed on exercise equipment by the end-user, or a listing of the responses received from the end-users with respect to the health-related script. Specific techniques for writing a report generator program to display data in this manner are well known in the art. The virtual coach application 103.1 identifies incorrect form/technique and other assessment data and then prompts the end user to action during exercise in terms of feedback as explained above.
Within the context of the embodiments herein, examples of training program goals include strength training, rehabilitation/physical therapy, sports conditioning (professional athletes/Olympians/college athletes), weight management (weight gain or loss), health maintenance, etc.
Similarly, the VTS portal 302 may display the corrective feedback through several hyperlinks including report generator, review/update goals, review stats/measurements, and expert advice. A report generator at the VTS portal 302 may display health management reports for end-user review. The report may be generated based on the measurements of exercises performed by the end-user. The health report may include, for example, a graph of the measured exercise movements performed on exercise equipment by the end-user. Since an end-user follows the reference training data 103.3 that is based on the information provided by health management service providers 104 (of
Similarly, the review stats/measurements may provide the statistics and the measurements of the exercises performed by the end-user. The VTS portal 302 may also display expert advice depending upon the requirements of an end-user. For example, if an end-user is diabetic, then he might require expert advice pertaining to sugar free diet, medications, or information on exercises specifically designed for diabetic patients.
The wearable sensing elements 400 and equipment sensing elements 500 function in a similar manner. The wearable sensing elements 400 send the measured data to the sensor data management module or apparatus 101 (of
In one embodiment, the equipment sensor 400 (of
The microprocessor 604 is also connected to a real-time clock 603. The real-time clock 603 indicates the current date and time to the microprocessor 604. For clarity of illustration, clock 603 is shown as a separate component, but is preferably built into the microprocessor 604. The microprocessor 604 processes the data received from the various sensing elements 400 (of
The above-described training program content may also include a set of queries, and for each of the queries, corresponding response choices. Such queries may be sent to the end-user on his/her communication device 102 (of
Again, with respect to
Generally, the embodiments herein provide a network-based system 100 that serves as the interface between a plurality of expert trainers and a plurality of end-users 702. A user can subscribe to a program of a particular trainer and have real-time coaching, education, and feedback on proper exercise technique without the trainer being physically present with the user because, when a user practices the technique, the virtual coach compares the user's range of motion recording to the expert recording, and branches to appropriate feedback, thus providing a virtual coaching system 100 for proper exercise technique on each exercise as part of an overall fitness program authored by an expert trainer.
The foregoing description of the specific embodiments will so fully reveal the general nature of the embodiments herein that others can, by applying current knowledge, readily modify and/or adapt for various applications such specific embodiments without departing from the generic concept, and, therefore, such adaptations and modifications should and are intended to be comprehended within the meaning and range of equivalents of the disclosed embodiments. It is to be understood that the phraseology or terminology employed herein is for the purpose of description and not of limitation. Therefore, while the embodiments herein have been described in terms of preferred embodiments, those skilled in the art will recognize that the embodiments herein can be practiced with modification within the spirit and scope of the appended claims.